Blackout Watch

System Power Outages

by Troy Linkugel, USA

Analysis of system power outages can help us learn and avoid similar events in the future. If you have information on any blackouts, please e-mail to: editor@pacw.org

Abuja, Nigeria
10 May 2019
A failure in the national grid triggered a massive blackout that left over 180 million people in the dark. The country's electricity output typically operates at 4,000 megawatts, but unexpectedly dropped to only 230 megawatts around 5:30 a.m. The outage was the second in only an 18-hour period and sixth time the grid has collapsed so far this year. The Power Minister stated that privatization of the country's power sector has made it difficult for the government to fix the issues.
  
Buenos Aires, Argentina 
16 June 2019
A massive blackout cut power across Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.  The Argentine president called the event an “unprecedented” failure in the countries’ power grid that left tens of millions without electricity. A vital interconnection system collapsed at about 7 a.m. local time and by mid-afternoon roughly 20 million Argentine were still without power. Energy company Edesur said the failure originated at a transmission point between stations at Yacyretá dam and Salto Grande.

Yerevan, Armenia
10 July 2019
A major blackout hit major cities in several provinces in the late afternoon. Supply frequency fluctuations at the Yerevan and Hrazdan thermal power plants led to a shutdown that left thousands without power for several hours.
 
New York City, NY, USA
13 July 2019
The Big Apple was hit by a major blackout after a relay failed to isolate a faulty 13,000-volt cable. Electrical utility Con Edison cited a flawed connection between the relay and protective sensors for allowing the problem to escalate. 73,000 customers were without power for about five hours along a 40-block stretch, which included Times Square and Broadway.

Almaty, Kazakhstan
15 July 2019
A blackout left most districts of Kazakhstan’s largest city without power shortly after 2 p.m. Most of the 1.8 million inhabitants lost electricity, with traffic lights and the city's subway system also offline for several hours. There was no official explanation for the outage, however the grid was believed to be under increased pressure due to high temperatures.
 
Havana, Cuba
16 July 2019
All provinces of Cuba suffered a power loss starting at 2:30 p.m. Power sources in several towns reportedly had problems with their systems, with planned maintenance and breakdowns being blamed for the blackout.  The average outage was three hours for most recipients, but some did experience longer periods. This blackout marked the first time Cubans were consistently using social media to report power outages.

Caracas, Venezuela
22 July 2019
Half of Venezuela’s 23 states lost power for nearly nine hours. The Venezuelan Information Minister claimed the outage was caused by an “electromagnetic attack,” but did not provide any evidence.  Government opponents say years of mismanagement and corruption were to blame for a national power grid in disrepair.

Time and location of the System & Power Disturbances in 2019

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